JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors Thursday night approved competitive sports within the Mountain Valley Conference for golf and cross country but opposed such competitions for soccer, field hockey, cheering and football.

Initially, the board considered allowing competitions for moderate-risk sports, provided all competitors wore face masks during events.

A questionnaire was sent to other Mountain Valley Conference schools, Spruce Mountain High School Athletic Director Marc Keller said. Their response about wearing face masks was that the Maine Principals Association guidelines say they are permitted, not mandated, he said.

“I’m not sure other teams would be willing to wear masks,” Keller added.

Director Phoebe Pike said a lot of directors are still attending meetings via Zoom.

“When it comes to moderate-risk sports, I’m very concerned for the students,” she said. “I know how much sports mean to the students. I’m very concerned for them. It’s hard to avoid contact in soccer. I don’t think we can take the risk with our students, staff, our community.”

“There is a discrepancy between the MPA’s clarification and its guidelines,” Chairman Robert Staples said.

Earlier in the day, the MPA announced there would be no football or indoor volleyball this fall.

Director Ann Schwab asked if band and chorus were happening.

“If you can’t sing in a for-credit course, how can you cheer? It doesn’t seem equitable,” she said.

“Athletics are extremely important,” Superintendent Scott Albert said. “We put a lot of effort into the return to school. If both teams don’t wear masks, it won’t meet the straight-face test.”

The original motion to allow moderate-risk sports was withdrawn. A second motion to not allow moderate-risk sports teams to compete competitively was first amended to allow Phase 4 practicing to continue. It was further amended to allow Keller to develop an intramural program for those sports.

Both amendments and the original motion passed.

The board also approved allowing football, deemed a high-risk sport, to continue Phase 4 and allow participation in an intramural program once it is developed.

The decisions apply to middle and high school sports programs, Staples said.

Asked about a meeting on other extracurricular activities such as robotics and Envirothon, Keller said the board would have to wait until it sees the guidelines before holding a meeting.


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